Jesus, Mary, and Joseph lived in Nazareth as a family. The kind of family life they lived was normal considering the standard of other families at that time. We all know that the trade of Joseph was carpentry and Jesus must have assisted in great measures while growing up. Of course, Mary did her best to cement the life in the family. The gospel of Luke tells us that they attended the yearly festival in Jerusalem. While returning to Nazareth, Jesus got separated from his parents and they had to search for him. When they found him, they said, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” This is the kind of anxiety you would expect from a parent whose child has been lost.
On his part, Jesus replied by saying, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” He went back with his family to Nazareth and remained obedient. The gospel tells us he grew in wisdom and age, and God’s favor was with him. Mary and Joseph treasured this incident in their hearts because families are everlasting.
Contemporary life is yielding challenges to family life as we know it in the traditional sense of father and mother building their lives together. Whatever opinion you have on contemporary life does not diminish the importance of a father and a mother bringing life into the world. The kind of support that Mary and Joseph offered Jesus is the kind of support that every parent should offer their children. At moments when they are lost because of personal difficulties, the parents offer sure support.
This is the day that we receive blessings for our roles in the family just as Moses blessed the people of Israel. Moses gave a formula for this blessing: “The Lord bless you and keep you! The Lord let his face shine upon you and be gracious to you! The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace! So shall they invoke my name upon the Israelites, and I will bless them.”
It is important on this day to cherish the bonds in our families. On the flip side, there may be difficulties that we experience in our lives, remember to turn to God. Hannah conceived Samuel after many years of marriage. As she visited the temple in Shiloh, the Lord saw her commitment and gave her a child of her own. Hannah in return dedicated this child to God. But Samuel went to live with Eli the priest of the temple.
In this celebration, let us learn to appreciate the support of our family members. Every bit of support goes a great way to add value to our lives and so it is important on this day to show appreciation. St. John writes that we are God’s children, and what we shall be in the future is not yet revealed. The secret is to live one day at time and enjoy what family life offers.
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